Top 3 Exercises for the Budget Minded Paleo Eater

Jump Rope Fever Trina Alexander via Compfight

A pleasant revelation of eating a nutrient-dense diet, low carb is the realization that I don’t need to kill myself at the gym like I used to in the past.  Gone are the days of running like a hamster on a wheel, 6 times a week, vainly trying to drop weight only despairing of not seeing much improvement.  Not going to the gym also played into my budgetary choices.  Feels good to get fit at a lower cost than the cost of the gym.

But Soph, you might ask, isn’t modifying diet far more effective at losing weight than exercising?

Yes, I will answer. Modifying diet, for people who need to lose over 10 pounds, is more effective than exercise.  If one has a lot of weight to lose, then diet alone can do the trick in terms of enabling weight loss.  The caveat is what type of diet is that you do.  A paleo, primal or ancestral, type of diet is much more effective at satiating hunger, due to the higher fat content (and correspondingly lower insulin-raising carb level) without the resulting deprivation one feels on a conventional low-fat diet.

However, if you have 10 or less pounds to lose, you will need to incorporate exercise back into your lifestyle in order to hit goal weight.  Your body will not let go of the buffering layer of fat without some form of exercise.

Either way, incorporating exercise into one’s lifestyle is of net benefit, whether you want to lose weight or not.  And exercise does not need to be expensive either.

When I changed my style of eating by eliminating processed foods (mainly processed carbs) and eating nutrient-dense foods, I lost pounds as did my fellow experimenters.

When I added exercise to my regime, after plateauing on my weight loss, I toned up and lost inches, and still continued to drop dress sizes.

So what does a budget minded paleo dieter do for exercise?

Walking

Our ancestors walked a lot.  I am fortunate to live in a pedestrian-friendly city and that fact means that walking is integrated into my lifestyle.  I walk to the grocery store, to work, to the post office, to meet my friends, to the movies, etc…

In the earlier part of my path to better health, I would walk an average of 6 to 8 km a nights, usually while listening to my iPod. Not only did this low-impact cardio help physically but it also invigorated me mentally, as it helped clear my head, allowing me to meditate. I began to understand the runners and gym bunnies who claimed they didn’t feel good if they didn’t indulge in their particular form of exercise.  I loved my evening walks so much that I would get antsy if I DIDN’T go for my walk.

If you don’t live in an area that is conducive to walking try to find a track near a high school and do your walking there.

Or try to walk around your neighbourhood block several times, using a pedometer or one of the cool apps on Android or iPhone (iSteps) that measures the distance you walk.  You could learn a new language, listen to great music or get informed by listening to podcasts, all while getting a fun enjoyable means of exercising. And of course, it costs you next to nothing, money-wise.

There are good studies out there, like this one from the nih, outlining the benefits of engaging in low to moderate levels activity (i.e. walking) and how this “simple health behavior can reduce rates of chronic disease and ameliorate rising health care costs”.

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Frequency: 4 to 5 times a week

Jumping rope

Doing this activity takes me back to my childhood where you couldn’t separate me from my worn out frayed jump rope.  I could jump rope with the neighbourhood girls for hours, without breaking into a sweat.  Oh, my sweet, innocent childhood.

A bit of a different story as an adult.  I will confess to not liking jumping rope quite so much now.  But it cannot be beat for pumping up the heart rate which burns fat.  My jump rope methods can be categorized as High Intensity Interval Workout where I follow Rusty’s from fitnessblackbook method of jumping rope:

  • skipping hard for 30 seconds
  • resting for 30 seconds
  • skipping hard for 30 seconds
  • resting for 30 seconds

and I repeat that cycle 4 to 5 times.  The more you do it the more cycles you will add and shorter the rest times will be.

You will be breathing VERY hard at the end of the cycle but you don’t need to spend more than 10-15 minutes on it (and that is if you are quite fit).  Normally, if you haven’t been used to high intensity workouts, don’t expect to go more than a minute at first.

Cost is the price of the jump rope which runs to less than $15.  By the way, the sales rep gently took me to ask for calling it a “skipping rope”.  Apparently, “skipping rope” is the name schoolgirls use.  “Jump rope” is what grown ups use :-)

Frequency: Once or twice a week

Time: 5-10 minutes

Body Weight Exercise

Strength training helps with building muscle. Optimally, freeweights are the best but since I don’t belong to a gym I make do with body weights like:

  • Shoulder push ups:  2 sets of 8
  • Planks: 1 continual minute
  • Counter push ups: 2 sets of 8
  • Modified push ups: 20

Frequency: 2 times a week

Check out Mark Sisson’s Guide to BodyWeight Workout.  You will be absolutely beat at the end of it but it’s an effective workout and it does not cost you much.

This is a starting guide towards better health, cost-effective and relatively fun to implement.

 

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